Ramayana Ballet Performance at Prambanan Theatre and Hindu Prambanan temple complex are not to be missed attractions when visiting Yogyakarta! It’s a great cultural experience and fantastic opportunity to take some stunning photos.
After having breakfast in our hotel (Monginsidi Guest House) we set off to visit Sultan Palace (Kraton) and Taman Sari Water Castle. We catch a public bus to get nearby these sights. As we walk towards the Sultan Palace we come across TV crew filming local soap opera titled: ‘Love in Paris’. As soon as we get closer and take some shots we notice that some crew members are actually taking pictures of us!
We are not that impressed by the Palace but the entry is very cheap so still worthwhile visiting if you have some spare time.
We really enjoyed the Taman Sari Water Castle though. As soon as we enter the site we are offered a free local guide – a student who gives a free tour in return for an opportunity to practice her English, simply by chatting with us during the tour. It sounded like a great deal so we agree of course. It was a very friendly Muslim girl in her 20′s. She tells us a bit about her life, studies and a lot of detailed information about history of this place. We can tell she is very happy and also interested to know about our lives and countries and places we come from…
The Water Castle looks a bit like it needs repairing and we have learned that whole complex will be actually restored in 2017. As we visit the complex of buildings and ponds we also notice that there are people living in some of the buildings. Our guide explains that once the place is restored these people will be evicted from there… even though they lived there for years and aren’t willing to leave as they believe it’s their home… rather sad to hear…
Our next destination for the day is a famous UNESCO site – Hindu Prambanan temple complex and the Ramayana Ballet Performance. We catch the bus in the afternoon from Malioboro which gives us just enough time to see the main complex and have a rushed walk around other smaller temples. It feels like half a day would be much better length of time than just a couple of hours…
The entry ticket to the temple complex costs 18 US$ for foreign adult ($9 for foreign student). It’s a unique place – having visited many Asian temples already we haven’t seen anything like that before – definitely worth a visit.
After sunset we get some food in the nearest warung and walk towards the Prambanan Indoor Theatre where the Ramayana performance will take place. Suddenly Rich steps in a sharp piece of glass and it’s bleeding – it looks a bit nasty, especially that after walking all day on dusty and dirty roads in sandals his foot is far from clean… Luckily we’re very close to the base of security guards by Prambanan complex and they turn out to be very friendly and helpful guys. One of them goes off somewhere on motorbike to bring some more plasters and bandages – we’re really impressed by their friendliness and eagerness to help! At the end they take us on 2 motorbikes straight to the performance – we offer to pay but they refuse to take any money… that’s very positive part of travelling – meeting strangers that are happy to help!
Finally performance begins – at the entrance everyone is given Ramayana story written on piece of paper to understand it better. Performance is spectacular – costumes, music, the whole play and every detail are awesome!
And at the background there is an amazing view of the lit Prambanan temple complex. We take some spectacular photos and also during the break and at the end everyone is welcome to take pictures with actors!
Tickets for 1 person cost 200 000 IDR ~ 17 US$ (performance) + 65 000 IDR ~ 6 US$ for transport back to our hotel (we organised it through the tourist information centre in Malioboro, Yogyakarata). It was definitely money well spent – must do thing if you’re visiting Yogyakarta!